A scheduled meeting between Sudanese President Salva Kiir and his former Deputy Riek Machar hangs in balance as its deadline approaches with no indication that it will take place as agreed.
The two rivaling leaders signed in Addis Ababa on 9 May the ‘Agreement to Resolve the Crisis in South Sudan,’ which stipulated that they would meet again within one month to review the deal. The next meeting was scheduled for June 9th, 2014.
The text of the agreement states that Kiir and Machar “agree to meet again, within one month, under IGAD auspices, to facilitate continued progress on the aforementioned issues and resolution of the crisis.”
According to the United Nations, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has placed phone calls to both Kiir and Machar to urge them to adhere to the agreement.
“Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Wednesday urged South Sudanese President Salva Kiir and former Vice-President Riek Machar to meet next week on Monday, as agreed to in the 9 May document that aimed to end the fighting in the world’s newest country,” the UN News Centre has reported.
In a telephone call with President Kiir, Mr. Ban expressed “grave concern” about ongoing hostilities and called for an “immediate” end to all military operations, his spokesperson said.
Subsequently, Ban also spoke with Machar by telephone. “He deplored the grave humanitarian situation in the country and reiterated the need for both parties to abide by these agreements and end all military operations immediately,” according to the UN report.
Face-to-face talks between government and rebel delegations have been delayed this week, reportedly to give time for the mediators first to hold a three-day symposium with civil society groups.
“IGAD will announce the timetable for next round of talks based on the outcome of the all-inclusive symposium,” the source said.
Meanwhile, Peace talks between South Sudan’s government and the rebel movement had been scheduled to resume on 2 June, but have now been adjourned to an as yet unspecified date. No official explanation has been given for the delay in the resumption of talks.
Talks have stalled on several occasions amid ongoing disagreements between the South Sudanese government and breakaway rebel movement – the SPLM In Opposition – led by former vice-president Riek Machar have failed to halt violence on the ground, the Sudan tribune reports.
The talks are seeking to end a conflict, which erupted following a political split in South Sudan’s ruling SPLM, pitting the government loyalists against rebel forces aligned with Machar, comprising largely of dissident soldiers and ethnic militias.
The Violence has killed thousands and displaced more than 1.3 million, with both sides accused of carrying out atrocities.